Editorial: Career Services Misses the Mark

By The Editorial Board

Internships have been a necessary evil for college students for some time now; this is nothing new.  Given this, the process of finding and applying for internship opportunities should be relatively easy, as minimally time-consuming and streamlined as possible.  This is not the current state of Career Services or the CareerLink website.

Students must jump through several hoops merely to access the website, including attending several courses that are both challenging to schedule and not particularly helpful. Once a student gains access, he or she must sift through the postings in an attempt to find a suitable position.  In doing so, the average student will likely run into one of three problems.

The first of these is specific to Fordham College (FCRH) students.  The majority of viable internships listed on CareerLink are for business students.  Much of the help Career Services provides caters specifically to students in GSB. Though it is important for business students to find internships, it is equally important for FCRH students, who make up nearly two-thirds of the undergraduate population at Rose Hill, to find opportunities for professional development.  These opportunities should include not only internships, but also research opportunities outside of the university for humanities and science majors. Although Career Services has made strides to better help liberal arts students, such as hosting a separate arts, media and volunteer internship fair, the web resources still seem more hospitable to business students.  The typical explanation for the lack of non-business listings is that there are fewer opportunities available for humanities majors. This is not true.

Secondly, students not local to the tri-state area will have an issue finding summer opportunities on CareerLink. Fordham strives to become a nationally-recognized university.  For summer internships, Career Services needs to recognize that California is our third-largest feeder state. Since many out-of-state students cannot pay to live in the city without their employers compensating them, Career Services should focus on linking students with potential employers in their home states. Fordham students going home for the summer automatically find themselves at a disadvantage to local students who are able to get internship and job placement through their universities.

Finally, Career Services needs to recognize the tough situation in which internships put students. Many prestigious internships actually require students to pay something to have a position. By requiring credit and not providing travel stipends, internships price out a lot of students. Universities must recognize this problem and provide students with the ability to get credit for internships that does not factor into credit limits for scholarship or tuition. A student should not be forced to volunteer as an intern and then be required to pay for credits. At the very least, Fordham should count internship seminar credits toward graduation or major requirements, so these credits actually help students and are not just a random communication credit on one’s transcript.

Fordham emphasizes the importance of internships for all students, and students understand the need to have work experience on their resumes, even exploitive, unpaid internships.

However, Fordham sends mixed messages by making Career Services hard to access, making getting credit unappealing and unusable and gearing internship placement toward local Gabelli students.